Lircay Run-of-River Hydropower Project in Chile
The Lircay River Hydropower Plant is a grid-connected small-scale hydropower plant with a run-of-river reservoir in the region of Maule, Chile. The 19MW plant is built on the south bank of the Lircay River and utilizes the waters of the Maule Norte Bajo canal producing clean electricity every year which is delivered to industrial and residential consumers in the area. In addition to a sustainable fuel source, the hydropower plant provides essential back-up power during major electricity outages, helps control floods, benefits the irrigation system of the Maule valley, and creates jobs and new business opportunities for the locals.
Maule is the fourth most populated region of Chile, home to more than 1 million people, one-third of which lives in rural areas. Electricity, gas, and water are the second most important economic activity after wine-making in the region. The hydropower plant contributes to national development through the generation of clean energy to displace coal, diesel, and natural gas power generation. The plant also creates jobs giving a financial boost to the surrounding communities, which have a high rate of unemployment and poverty. Additionally, the hydropower plant’s annual water rights payment will benefit the region’s irrigation system that extends in near 1,000 km in the Maule valley.
How It Works
The Lircay River 19MW run-of-river hydropower plant generates clean electricity every year for the Central Interconnected System of Chile, reducing reliance on non-renewable energy sources. The result is clean electricity, improved regional energy security, less carbon emitted, flood control, improved irrigation system and better living conditions for locals in general.
Renewable energy generated electricity reduces the amount of toxic fumes released by traditional, fossil fuel-based power plants, helps conserve the Earth’s natural resources, and protects ecosystems from destruction. The hydropower plant serves as a demonstration of environmentally-friendly power production technologies and their economic benefits in the region. It contributes to Chile’s development, creates local jobs, and opens up business opportunities for the locals. The plant is expected to remove 1.1 million tons of CO2e from the atmosphere over 21 years. Reduced emissions will also reduce pollution, lower risk of premature deaths, heart attacks, and asthma attacks.
Facts & Figures
- Utilizes the hydroelectric potential of the Maule Valley and improves regional energy security
- Produces clean electricity every year which is delivered to industrial and residential consumers in the area
- Saves 1.1 million tons of CO2e harmful emissions from entering the atmosphere over 21 years
- Increases commercial activity and helps improve near 2,200 irrigation systems in the region
- Certification Standard: UN Clean Development Mechanism